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Morgan County Golden Stars: 'Golden' year round

Time:2019-03-25 23:43Underwear site information Click:

County Stars year round Golden

The Morgan County Golden Stars, perhaps best known for their Christmas Giving drive, does not stop their work when the winter holidays are over.

President Lisa Canales and Kate McBride of the MCGS spoke with The Times on Tuesday to give an update on how they try to keep Morgan County 'Stars' shining throughout the year.

Now a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Golden Stars started in 2005 when Cindy Schneider and Doug Schossow took a handful of coats to Columbine School that winter for students who did not have one, Canales explained.

From there, it grew to 25 coats the next year, 125 coats after that, and so on, until it became the vast organization across the county it is today.

Part of the MCGS's growth has been figuring out how to consolidate efforts. Canales explained how former Sheriff Jim Crone had been running a separate county-wide Christmas drive. Once Crone, Schneider and Schossow realized they all had the same goal, they "joined forces."

Since that happened about a decade ago, they have continued to grow, and officially became 'Morgan County Golden Stars' about four years ago, Canales said.

In recent years, the Christmas drive has grown to reach 1,000 to 1,200 children each year, Canales and McBride reported, and remains the organization's biggest project.

For families and children to participate, they need to be referred by schools, agencies or other organizations.

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For each child that participates, they receive a 'Christmas Box.'

"With this project, we make sure every kiddo in the county gets Christmas," Canales explained. "They each get two brand-new outfits, a pair of shoes, a coat and two age-appropriate toys."

For those interested in donating items, Canales and McBride said it is very possible to do so throughout the year.

"We ask for brand new items, because our kiddos, any day of the week, would be getting hand-me downs or secondhand. We feel like at Christmastime that's their time and they deserve to have brand new."

McBride said for the items they receive that are not new, they do send the donations to other agencies they are connected to.

Canales and McBride described their vast network through the schools, government and law enforcement agencies and organizations like SHARE or S.A.R.A., Inc., at Christmastime and beyond.

For entire families with a need, they can approach school principals, case workers or others connected to these organizations and they will connect to MCGS to get them on their Christmas list, or rally support or gather needed items the rest of the year. Canales said they are also glad to work with the Morgan County Family Center.

With the recent fire on Kiowa Avenue that displaced more than 30 people from their homes, Canales and McBride said they have been collecting clothing and toiletry items for the children. One Morgan County continues to collect items and donations, as well.

"Throughout the year, agencies reach out to us and say, 'Do you have a coat for this size?', so we provide that all year," McBride explained.

"We're never totally done," Canales added.

The MCGS's major fundraisers include the Donny Edson Silent Auction Dinner in November at the Country Steak Out; a golf tournament generally held in May and clay shoot typically held in the fall at the Longmeadow Game Resort & Event Center in Wiggins.

Canales highlighted a section of MCGS focused on providing mental health support to veterans and other returning service members, started by Crone.

"We provide rides to those appointments, sometimes help pay for services, whatever they need," Canales explained. She said half of the funds from the clay shoot fundraiser go towards that cause specifically.

Canales and McBride thanked all of those who come together to support these fundraisers.

"We could never do it without the help of our Morgan County friends," Canales said. "We strive totally on donations."

2018 a 'star' year

This past year has been a very successful year for the organization and its efforts, Canales and McBride said.

"I think 2018 was probably our strongest year financially," Canales said. "We're very thankful that we have what we have."

Canales thanked Calvary University for providing a storage space for them in the old boys locker room at the former middle school the university purchased and renovated on Ensign Street in Fort Morgan.

One of the biggest changes in this past year's drive is that they had families pick up their Christmas boxes instead of delivering them and they said it was very effective. The previous space they were storing their supplies at for three years was no longer available at the end of 2018.

"They have stepped up big time for us. We could not function if we didn't have those folks over there," Canales said. "We tried to find somewhere rent-free or for very little money and Calvary stepped up and said, 'We may have some ideas for you, come talk to us.'"

Up next

As they plan for the year ahead, Canales and McBride said the Christmas drive is still their biggest effort. MCGS starts their Christmas Drive efforts in the fall. They said they send the referral forms out to schools starting in October and begin their 'Christmas shopping' through a couple of trips to Wal-Mart to set their base of the items they plan to distribute that season.

McBride said they estimate they spend about $75 per child, for about 1,000 children total. Each year their supplies change, depending on donations.

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